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Black History Month: Remembering Tragic Places Where the Ghosts of Slaves Roam

It occurred to me I’ve never done a Black History Month post before. I try not to distinguish ghosts any differently than I distinguish people. (That is to say, I try to see people for the people they are, not for the color of their skin, their race, religious beliefs, gender, etc.)

However, it’s hard to ignore the history of our country. Once upon a time there was a thing called slavery. People were made to be property just because of the color of their skin.

We’ve all heard the stories of some of the types of violence slaves endured and that sometimes they died as a result of the abuse leveled against them. Do the ghosts of their troubled and tortured souls still roam the slave quarters, plantations, and fields where they once lived and worked?

Perhaps.

ALWAYS REMEMBER

Two places that I think have particularly heinous and tragic slave abuse histories are Hickory Hill and the LaLaurie House.

To the ghosts that may still be lingering in these places, I am so sorry for the pain and suffering you knew. This is my humble attempt to honor your souls and wish that your restless spirits may one day find peace.

I also hope that in re-telling your stories (because their oft repeated in ghost circles) it reminds others we should never forget how cruel people will be to each other if allowed. If we remember our failings we’ll be less likely to repeat our mistakes. Your deaths shouldn’t be in vain.

HICKORY HILL (aka “THE OLD SLAVE HOUSE) – EQUALITY, ILLINOIS

Hickory Hill was built by a man named John Hart Crenshaw. Illinois didn’t technically allow slavery back in Crenshaw’s day (circa 1830s and 1840s) but, as with so many things, there was a loophole. Slaves could be leased for one-year terms for certain reasons. One of them being to work in salt mines. It was a loop hole Crenshaw took advantage of.

But Crenshaw, a respected businessman and church figure, had a dark side. He kidnapped black families and held them hostage in the third floor attic of Hickory Hill until he could sell them into slavery. (I like the way Prairie Ghosts put it. Sort of a “reverse underground railroad.”)

Reports of paranormal activity in Hickory Hill, which is currently closed to the public, include voices in the attic, singing that sounds like spirituals, and moaning.

THE LALAURIE HOUSE – NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

It’s always the innocent looking ones, isn’t it? In 1834, New Orleans society judged Delphine LaLaurie, wife of Dr. Louis LaLaurie, to be friendly, charming, and cheerful.

But the public image Mrs. LaLaurie presented was a mask for a woman who treated her slaves inhumanely. Rumor had it she chained her cook to the stove, but that was mild in comparison to what was later discovered she did to her slaves –who always seemed to be mysteriously disappearing.

When a fire broke out in the house, firefighters found over a dozen slaves and the bodies of slaves in the LaLaurie’s attic. The mutilation and torture they endured was beyond disgusting. It’s no wonder if ever a place was a haunted by spirits who were so horribly abused in life, it’s the LaLaurie Mansion. (To read more of exactly what type of mutilation was done to them, see The Most Haunted House in New Orleans.)

Reports of paranormal activity range from apparitions to sounds of crying and moaning.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

3 thoughts on “Black History Month: Remembering Tragic Places Where the Ghosts of Slaves Roam

  1. We too share a history in slave trading. It isn’t something that is much publicised these days but the City of Liverpool was built largely on the profits of slave trading. There is a small village on the coast near Morecambe in Lancashire. It is called Sunderland Point. A tiny place and only accessible by a tidal road. There is a grave there of a young African slave who died in the 18th century. He died of a European disease, probably influenza. He had no immunity to this. There is a lovely poem on the grave.

    Full many a Sand-bird chirps upon the Sod
    And many a moonlight Elfin round him trips
    Full many a Summer’s Sunbeam warms the Clod
    And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.
    But still he sleeps — till the awakening Sounds
    Of the Archangel’s Trump now life impart
    Then the GREAT JUDGE his approbation founds
    Not on man’s COLOUR but his worth of heart.

    Sentiments that seem well ahead of their time.

    You can read more here http://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/country/sunderland.shtml

  2. We too share a history in the horrendous trade of slavery. The City of Liverpool was founded on the profits from slave trading – a point that isn’t emphacised in these modern times.

    There is a place called Sunderland Point where there is a grave of a young African slave who died in the 18th century. He died of some type of common infection – probebly influenza, but his body wasn’t resistant to it coming from the warm climes of Africa.
    Sunderland Point is near Morecambe in Lancashire. It is a wild and lonely little place on the coast. It is only accessible by a tidal road. It is a quiet but eerie place. His gravestone bears an inscription.

    ‘Full many a Sand-bird chirps upon the Sod
    And many a moonlight Elfin round him trips
    Full many a Summer’s Sunbeam warms the Clod
    And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.
    But still he sleeps — till the awakening Sounds
    Of the Archangel’s Trump now life impart
    Then the GREAT JUDGE his approbation founds
    Not on man’s COLOUR but his worth of heart.’

    A sentiment that seems well ahead of it’s time in those vicious and unenlightened times!
    You can read more here:

    http://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/country/sunderland.shtml

  3. OH WOW! THANKS so much for sharing this. I guess I get tos caught up living in the southern US and all its slave history that I forget about Britain’s hand in it all. What an extraordinarily enlightening comment. THANKS for sharing! (And sorry my blog acted up and first wouldn’t let you post it. I spotted it and approved it right away. Sheesh! Dave’s a good guy, not spam!)

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